This is an update from a previous article posted on November 5, 2013
By: Charbell Lucio
Tancítaro, Michoacán.- On television, the host of a local news channel reported that the governor, Fausto Vallejo Figueroa, had assured that there would be no more civilian uprisings; but here, at 167 kilometers from the state capital, the governor’s statements sound like lies.
Especially in Tancítaro, a town rich in avocado production but battered by violence and domination, which until last November 16, had the presence of the Caballeros Templarios, before the uprising.
Today, the entrances and exits of the municipality and several nearby villages are guarded by hundreds of men, some still teenagers, proud of carrying a weapon. The same applies to the county seat, where there are now Community Guards after the departure of the municipal police.
A few meters away, the church was set up as a shelter for those displaced by the violence, there were hundreds of people from communities such as: El Zapote, El Cortijo and Pujua where they took shelter for over a week supported by Father Felipe, while their houses were looted, shot at, and in some cases even burned down.
Already in the journey through the communities in self-defense patrol groups, one of the members asked if I was afraid. How couldn't I be? If on that same divide in previous days, the Community Guards were fired upon from the hills. I wanted to deny it, but I felt fear throughout my body. Outside, the plantations of avocado and other fruits seemed endless; inside, the hits of “Los Inquietos del Norte” sounded ironic.
Upon reaching the communities which seemed like ghost towns, there were still traces of what happened there. Along the way there were personal belongings scattered around, removed from a house. The holes on the doors caused by the bullets let us see inside the buildings, where there was not a single soul.
The criminals, through their path, took jewelry, money, vehicles, and even tractors. In grocery stores they took all of the alcohol and other merchandise. In the avocado orchards, they left trucks abandoned and some of the merchandise was stolen.
The community saw their homes with sorrow; the mess, the ravage, anything they still had left. It’s inevitable to imagine what would’ve happened if these families had not left their homes to take refuge in the church.
With the passage of time and the expansion of the self-defense groups throughout other communities of Tancítaro, villagers have gained confidence and are slowly leaving the shelter, except for a family.
There are 12 people, mostly women and children who have not been able to leave the shelter. The house that they lived in was burned down by criminals, as revenge for supporting the self-defense movement.
The children have temporarily dropped out of school; they can’t approach their community. It has been almost a month since their arrival and they still don’t know when they’ll be back home.
Ten months after the emergence of the self-defense groups, it is known that the number of displaced persons exceeds 2,000; all of them originating from municipalities such as Buenavista Tomatlán, Tepalcatepec, Aguililla, Aquila, Coalcomán, Chinicuila Apatzingán and Tancítaro in the Tierra Caliente región in Michoacán.
Source: Michoacán 3.0